The Muppet Christmas Carol 20th Anniversary Blu-ray Combo Pack Review
I was 10 years old when The Muppet Christmas Carol was released, and the November 6th, 2012 Blu-ray Combo Pack is now the third packaging of this movie that I own. I have watched The Muppets Christmas Carol just about every Christmas, and even throughout the rest of the year just because I adore this retelling of the Charles Dickens Christmas classic so very much.
In Disney’s Muppets retelling, Michael Caine stars as Ebenezer Scrooge, the grouchy, selfish business man who is visited by three spirits on the eve of Christmas. Familiar Muppets such as Kermit (Steve Whitmire), Miss Piggy (Frank Oz), Fozzie Bear (Frank Oz), and Gonzo (Dave Goelz) step into the roles of Bob Cratchit, Emily Cratchit, Fozziewig, and Charles Dickens, respectively.
For a movie mainly geared toward children, The Muppet Christmas Carol remains surprisingly true to the Dickens classic, even using some of its most famous lines, including almost verbatim the first line of the novel (I say almost verbatim, because there was only one Marley in the novel. In the Muppets version, Statler and Waldorf portray brothers Jacob and Robert Marley).
There has apparently been a lot of excitement over the Blu-ray release of The Muppet Christmas Carol, as I learned when checking out Amazon.com reviews of earlier DVD releases and the IMDB boards for this film. The most important thing consumers wanted to know was whether or not the Blu-ray version would include the widescreen version with a particular song called “The Love is Gone”. My particular DVD from a release several years ago is fullscreen, and does contain the song; however, I was thrilled and eager to upgrade to the Blu-ray for this film to have it in widescreen and was really sad that the Blu-ray is indeed in widescreen, but cut my favorite song.
The scene with “The Love is Gone” is a very important moment in the film, the one which shows the exact point where Ebenezer Scrooge started to become, well, a scrooge. “The Love is Gone” is the breakup scene between Ebenezer and Belle, his fiancée of a number of years. It is a very heartfelt, emotional song, and when Ebenezer relives this moment of his life, this is where the audience begins to see him change. The lyrics of the song also contain a warning that Belle gives to Ebenezer: “be careful or you may regret the choice you make someday…” The song has been cut on the Blu-ray edition, and without it, those who might not be familiar with any other version of The Christmas Carol (or doesn’t know about this particular scene) will not understand what Ebenezer is thinking and feeling in this moment. Near the end of the movie, the song is reprised with “Love is Found”, which has the same melody and a more hopeful message than “The Love is Gone”. To me (and I am sure to others), it doesn’t make sense to have “Love is Found” without the earlier song.
After I finished watching the Blu-ray version, I immediately checked out the bonus features and was even more disappointed to see that the song, which is truly loved by many, is not even included as a deleted scene. I had hoped that Brian Henson might address why it was removed from the film in his audio commentary, but the only thing he talks about during this scene is how small the set was and that the buildings we see behind Ebenezer and Belle are only about three feet tall.
For anyone who was planning on purchasing the Blu-ray release to finally have the widescreen version (instead of the fullscreen) with the song “When Love is Gone”, I’m sorry to say that you will be incredibly disappointed in this release. I do love how this film looks and sounds in high definition, but “When Love is Gone” was my favorite part of this film; the next time I decide to watch it, I may actually watch my fullscreen version from several years ago just so I don’t have to go without the scene.
Deleted Song (WARNING–You may need tissues for this):
Disney Intermission Even when you hit Pause, the show still goes on! The Muppets Chickens and their friends perform five holiday songs for your family to enjoy while waiting for whoever to get back from raiding the kitchen or having a bathroom break.
Audio Commentary You can either choose audio commentary with director Brian Henson, or for a more screwball experience, with Muppets Kermit, Rizzo, Gonzo, etc.
Frogs, Pigs, and Humbug Director Brian Henson hosts, and takes viewers behind the scenes through the making of the film.
Pepe Profiles Gonzo Pepe the King Prawn hosts this feature that’s all about Gonzo.
Christmas Around the World An informative look at how people all around the world celebrate Christmas, featuring Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat.
*I received a product for review purposes. No monetary compensation was received for this review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely my own.*